This month the open access journal PLOS Medicine is running a special issue on the clinical implications of cancer genomics. Powered by two leading guest editors from the field, Elaine Mardis and Marc Ladanyi, the issue will aim to highlight progress in study of the genomics of important cancer types, assess the clinical implications of progress in this fast-moving field, and look ahead to what benefits future research may bring.

Alongside the latest research, there will also be a series of Perspectives articles that explore some of the wider issues affecting the clinical uptake of cancer genomics. The first article of the week comes from James Topham and Marco Marra, who discuss the acquisition of genetic information from tumors, which in recent years has progressed from localized analyses of single genes, and subsequently panels of genes, that are important in specific cancer types, to whole-genome sequencing.

The research studies published this week underline the rapid methodological progress that has redefined understanding of tumor genomes, and illustrate the richness and complexity of the data that are becoming available.

Breast cancer research is strongly represented, as this is one area where the understanding of biomarkers and treatment targets for this group of diseases is comparatively advanced. Although much of the research is translational in nature and focuses on modestly sized patient cohorts, such studies can be very valuable in charting future experimental and clinical directions.

Find out more about the featured research here.